The afternoon sun had moved from being directly overhead to a point just above the western horizon. It must have been about five or six o’clock, but she had no idea and was afraid to check her watch.
Her kidnapper had been quiet—no fidgeting and no indication of any agitation. She listened intently, not daring to breathe. There was no sound other than the wind in the trees.
For all she knew, her abductor could have left. Maybe he just wanted to scare her—send her a message by leaving her alone out here to frighten her.
She strained again to hear anything, but there was nothing.
She finally got up enough nerve to squint out of the side of her eye and could just make out one jean leg splayed outwards.
She imagined in her mind’s eye how he must look—back propped up against the trunk of the tree—He’s fallen asleep, she reasoned. It seemed too good to be true.
Was it a trick? —What if she turned around and saw his face—Would he shoot her?
She wasn’t sure. She decided to take some time and ponder the options.
The fact that he hadn’t killed her yet was in her favor—he was obviously waiting for someone to come or maybe for something to happen.
At any rate, he had shown some discretion and probably wouldn’t act impetuously even if she did see his face.
She glanced quickly around and saw a young man in his early twenties lying back against the tree and sound asleep.
She didn’t even stop to notice his features, but seeing her opportunity, slowly stood up and began to quietly back away. Thankfully, the man didn’t move.
She backed right across the clearing, keeping her eyes constantly on him.
When she felt the shade of the trees, she turned and started to make her way back toward the SUV.
As she went, she reached into her pocket, flipped open her cell and punched in 911.
She was about to raise it to her ear when she was slammed forward onto the ground. The phone skittered into some long grass and she inhaled a mouthful of dirt.
“You bitch—almost made it, didn’t you?”
A hand cuffed her across the ear and then grabbed her hair, pulling her to a sitting position.
“You try something stupid like that again and I will kill you—count on it!”
He kicked her between her shoulder blades and laughed when she pitched forward again on her face.
“Now, get up and march.”
He grabbed the collar of her jacket and thrust back in the direction of the willows, but when they got there she went to stop and he pushed her further on.
He decided to move closer to Lookout Point.
They walked for another seven or eight minutes and stopped beside a grassy hillock in another small clearing.
Hailey sensed this time he had made a decision and her life was rapidly nearing its end.
© 2017, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.